Program involving AmeriCorps members is honored as part of CNN Heroes series.
Yesterday, Anderson Cooper named his Top 10 Heroes of 2008 on CNN. Among them, Liz McCartney and the St. Bernard Project, an AmeriCorps project in St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans.
According to a press release from the Corporation for National and Community Service,
Liz McCartney, co-founder of a Louisiana nonprofit that relies on volunteers and AmeriCorps members to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the second annual “CNN Heroes” program.
The St. Bernard Project, formed two years ago by McCartney and Zack Rosenburg, has mobilized more than 9,000 volunteers to renovate and reconstruct 151 homes for residents of St. Bernard Parish, an area just outside New Orleans that once was home to 67,000 people that suffered massive damage from Katrina.
Watch the AC 360 clip from CNN.
Anyone can vote for the Hero of the Year.
The announcement is expected Thanksgiving night. The winner will win $100,000.
The top ten heroes each won $25,000 and McCartney donated hers back to the project.
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Marginalized New Orleans Youth Strive for a Brighter, Greener Future
The Corps Network has recently launched a new service program in New Orleans. The Conservation Corps of Greater New Orleans (CCGNO) combines many goals:
- Engage local youth whom the schools have not reached, including formerly incarcerated and court-involved 16-24 year olds
- Prepare these youth with highly marketable and potentially lucrative green job skills
- Give them the chance to use sustainable practices to restore the environment and historic structures, conserve energy, and build community
- Revitalize New Orleans, a city still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina
- Innovate service learning practices by implementing them without the classroom
- Transform the public perception of marginalized youth by giving them a platform and a voice
- Instill in these youth the value of service to community at an early age
CCGNO leverages some investment from the Federal government, to not only transform the lives of its Corps members but also to rebuild and rejuvenate New Orleans infrastructure and community.
The program graduates its first class of Corps members this Friday through its Service Learning Showcase, where 100 Corps members will share their accomplishments from their three-month term of service.
During their term, Corps members visualized success, researched and assessed community needs, proposed and implemented sustainable projects, and finally evaluated their own outcomes. Corps members have served side by side with up to seven peers, plus professional mentors who have guided them. They have served in agencies throughout Greater New Orleans.
Recruited from the parishes of Greater New Orleans, the inaugural class of CCGNO show that quality service-learning comes through youth ownership. By mid-2009, CCGNO hopes to have graduated 800 Corps members.
While some service corps programs are hit-or-miss when it comes to career transitions, CCGNO is all about green workforce development, and commits to propelling its graduating Corps members towards green jobs and further education.
For further reading on bringing all voices to the environmental movement, check out GreenForAll.org. In November 2008, Green For All’s founder Van Jones published a book Green Collar Economy. Also read this New York Times blog post (from 11/10/08) about Van Jones and the Obama administration. Check out this interview with Van Jones, who explains more: